A local legend is calling it a career.
Not now, but soon.
One of the great coaching runs in college basketball history — and the longest and winningest in Philadelphia hoops history at any level — will officially come to an end on Henry Avenue after this season.
Herb Magee, who turned 80 in June, will call it a career after one more run through history. Thomas Jefferson University officially announced the news Tuesday that Magee will end a head-coaching run that began in 1967, included an NCAA College Division national title in 1970, and now includes 1,123 victories, second in NCAA men’s hoops only to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who also is retiring after this season.
“It’s been in my head as a done deal for awhile,” Magee said Tuesday over the phone. “I thought it was time. It’s time. Look at the number of years that I’ve been on this campus and the numbers of players I’ve coached. It’s time.”
His successor, as planned, will be long-time assistant Jimmy Reilly, the school announced.
Magee has been coaching for so long that the school where he’s been since 1967 has changed names twice. It was known was “Philadelphia Textile” back then, then became “Philadelphia University,” and then finally merged with Thomas Jefferson University in 2017. He’s been coaching or playing there pretty much his entire life.
In addition to winning all of those games over the course of so many years, Magee has the distinction of being known as “the shot doctor,” and worked with NBA players like Charles Barkley and Jameer Nelson. Just needed to get Ben Simmons in there at some point, but it never happened. Bummer.
Jefferson didn’t play last year due to COVID, but it will be cool to see Magee wrap it up with one final season. His teams are always really damn good. He hasn’t had a sub-.500 season since 1997 and two years ago went 27-4 and 18-1 in conference.